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90 Year Old Graduate Makes History

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

When the dean called for graduates to take the stage, graduation history was made. Laura Thresher Johnston, a fiery 90 year old, became the oldest person to receive a master's degree from Sam Houston State University.

"I probably wouldn't remember my own name if somebody didn't remind me every now and then, but what I have learned and what I'm studying stays with me for a long time," said Laura Thresher Johnston, Sam Houston State University graduate.

Johnston's master's degree is in history, but this isn't the first time Johnston has made history herself. Five years ago, at the age of 85, she was the oldest undergraduate to ever walk the stage. Then she received a degree in Spanish, an event she says almost didn't happen.

"I said yes I'm too old they'll throw me out, they haven't thrown me out yet," said Johnston.

Some college students might think it "cramps their style" to go to college with their grandmother. But Johnston's granddaughter, also named Laura, says it was an inspiration.

"Whenever I felt like I couldn't get up and come to class, I said if she could get up and come to class at her age, I could get up and come to class," said Laura Gill, Johnston's granddaughter.

It took Johnston 15 years to get her bachelor's and master's degrees. Now, she plans to do a little resting. But not for long, she has yet another goal.

"I'll be taking my PHD in history," said Johnston.

When she does, she'll make history for the third time.


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